July 12, Utica, Ohio / Mooney M20C


At about 2030 eastern time, a Mooney M20C lost engine power and was damaged landing in a field in Utica. The pilot received minor injuries. The pilot said the airplane had 20 gallons in the left tank and 12 gallons in the right tank when he departed. He determined he had enough fuel for four planned flights, plus a 30-minute reserve. He planned a cruise speed of 105 knots, which should have resulted in a fuel burn of 8 gph. The first leg was uneventful. On the second leg, he had to circle for 15 minutes before landing because of traffic. There was no fuel available at that airport, so he proceeded on the next leg. At the next airport, there was no fuel available and he did not check the quantity in the tanks before departure. After takeoff, however, the engine failed. The pilot told investigators he had planned to use a power setting that yielded 105 knots, but ended up using a power setting that gave him 120 knots. In addition, a check of the route of the last leg of the flight showed he could have diverted to several airports where fuel would have been available.


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